The U.S. Women's Open, which begins Thursday at Sebonack Golf Club in Southhampton, N.Y., will have an impressive eight Canadians in the field. All of them earned berths through the major championship's qualifying process. While some notables such as LPGA Tour regular Alena Sharp of Hamilton and Symetra Tour money leader Sue Kim of Langley, B.C., didn't make the field, the eight represent a wide cross-section of Canada's best female talent from all levels of golf – from an up-and-coming teenaged amateur to a veteran who has competed in the U.S. Women's Tour 12 previous times. The eight, in alphabetical order:
Izzy Beisiegel - The 34-year-old, whose once-promising career was set back last decade by Graves' disease, continues on the long comeback trail toward the top levels of golf. Beisiegel of Saint-Hilaire, Que., might be best known for her occasional forays into the men's game (she regularly enters the PGA Tour's qualifying school and became the first woman to gain status on a men's tour when she earned her PGA Tour Canada card at its Q-school for 2011) but her main gig these days is on the Symetra Tour, a second-tier women's circuit where she has one top-10 finish this season. She's at No. 21 on the Symetra money list and hoping to get into the top 10 by year-end to earn her full-time return to the LPGA Tour.
Kirby Dreher - The Fort St. John, B.C., native has been a regular on the Symetra Tour since turning pro in 2009 and had a part-time stint on the LPGA Tour in 2012. While she hasn't had an enormous amount of success on the U.S.-based tours (just one career top-10 finish), she's been fairly adept at getting into the U.S. Women's Open. She also qualified for the 2010 championship (at Oakmont Country Club).
Brooke Henderson - The 15-year-old is Canada's top female amateur (No. 25 in the world) and one of the country's brightest prospects. The high schooler from Smith Falls, Ont., can dominate her peers (she was Canada's junior champion in 2012) but she's also proven she can play with the big girls, too. She won a CN Canadian Women's Tour event last year to set a record for being the youngest to win a pro event, and she played in the 2012 CN Canadian Women's Open. Henderson got into the U.S. Women's Open field by topping the field at a qualifier last month. One of 17 teenagers in the field, she'll be making her major championship debut.
Lorie Kane - The veteran from Charlottetown landed a spot in her 13th U.S. Open by winning a qualifier in May. At 48, she was the oldest to get into the field through qualifying (Juli Inkster, 53, of the United States is the oldest competitor but she was granted a special exemption into the event by the United States Golf Association, which conducts the tournament) and showed she still has game. The four-time winner on the LPGA Tour has had a tepid season, making the cut in just four of 11 starts. But one of those made cuts was at the last major, the Wegmans LPGA Classic
Maude-Aimée LeBlanc - The long-bomber from Sherbrooke, Que., hits it as far as anyone on the LPGA Tour. She would have won the driving distance award last year in her rookie season were it not for a back injury that ended her season early and prevented her from making enough starts to qualify for the award. She's fourth in the category in 2013, an up-and-down season that has included six missed cuts and a withdrawal from the Wegmans LPGA Classic.
Jessica Shepley - The 30-year-old from Oakville, Ont., said she was quitting competitive play last fall, but her retirement didn't last long. She's returned to action this year after renewing her energy and enthusiasm for the game over the off-season. She's splitting her time this year between the Symetra Tour, the LPGA Tour and the CN Canadian Women's Tour. Her biggest success this season has been on the Canadian mini-tour, finishing as the runner-up at its season finale in Windsor, Ont., this month.
Stephanie Sherlock - In her third season on the LPGA Tour, the former Canadian Women's Amateur champion is still learning the ropes in the pro game. She's yet to have a top-10 LPGA result and this season has made three cuts in 11 starts. She got into the U.S. Women's Open by grabbing one of the 13 berths available at a star-packed qualifier in Maryland in May.
Nicole Zhang - The Calgary amateur, 21, has been concentrating lately as much on her school work (she goes to Notre Dame) and her entrepreneurial endeavours (she developed and sells a carrying bag for yoga mats) as her golf. But her golf inactivity over this past off-season didn't hurt her any when it came to qualifying for the U.S. Women's Open. She earned her second berth in the championship (she also qualified in 2010) by finishing as the runner-up at her qualifier last month.